Virgin Australia appoints Paul Scurrah as new CEO

Aviation

Virgin Australia has named Paul Scurrah as its new chief executive and managing director, succeeding John Borghetti from 25 March.

Scurrah has previously chief executive roles at port operator DP World Australia and Queensland Rail, and executive general manager roles at Aurizon, Flight Centre and Tourism Queensland. He has also worked at Qantas and Ansett Australia, and was involved in the establishment of Regional Express.

“Paul’s significant leadership in driving transformation and improving customer satisfaction in complex and challenging businesses is highly impressive, and his background in aviation provides the right foundation to steer the Virgin Australia Group into the future,” says the airline’s chairman Elizabeth Bryan.

She also thanked Borghetti for his leadership of Virgin over the past eight years, noting that he “pioneered a major transformation in the aviation industry to reposition the airline as a formidable competitor across all segments of the market.”

Virgin announced in mid-2018 that Borghetti would step down from the carrier by the end of 2019 at the latest, sparking a global search for a successor.

Australian media reported last year that former Hawaiian Airlines chief Mark Dunkerley was the front-runner for the position, before speculation turned to Scurrah earlier this year.

He will join the airline as it continues to work through its ‘better business’ cost-cutting programme, which is aimed at restoring the strength of its balance sheet after a series of losses in recent years.

Last year, the airline also lost a major partner in Air New Zealand, after that carrier elected not to renew its transtasman joint venture with Virgin. Air NZ later entered into a codeshare agreement with rival carrier Qantas.